Despite there not being any underdogs in the NFC this year, the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints are sure to put on quite a show. With the NFC Championship set, it’s time to take an in-depth look at both teams.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have been one of the favorites in the NFC for over a year in the NFL. They improved on their success from a year ago. Now, they’re one step away from making it to the Super Bowl.
The Rams have one this team could very much be a threat for years to come for other teams.
Jared Goff was playing like a MVP candidate early on as the Rams started off 8-0. He stumbled a bit, but his numbers are nothing to gloss over.
Goff has a stellar 64.9 completion percentage and has a career-high 32 touchdown passes this season. He’s thrown for over 4,600 yards this year, which is also a career high. In fact, this entire season has been a career year for Goff.
The Ram’s running backs, in Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, have also established that their offense isn’t to be taken lightly. In the NFC Divisional Game against the Dallas Cowboys, both Gurley and Anderson ran for over 100 yards each.
Anderson joined the team late in the year, but his impact has been felt. It has helped preserve Gurley while also making Goff’s life easier on play-action passes.
The Un-Blockable Force
The Rams have some big names up front to protect the ball.
The big man at the center of it all is Aaron Donald. He is a machine who has four forced fumbles on the year and over 20 sacks. As the game goes on, Donald seems to dig deep and make plays. It rubs off on his teammates and as he challenges them to be great.
The Rams have been looked at as a team that struggles against the run. Yet, it’s hard to run against a team with the likes of an All-Pro in the trenches.
New Orleans Saints
On the opposite side, the Saints have been steady since their embarrasing Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A terrible loss by the way. However, they have maintained the look of a juggernaut with the only hiccup coming against the Dallas Cowboys.
A great team starts with a great quarterback and the Saints have a great example in Drew Brees. The 40-year-old has 74.4 completion percentage which is well above his career average, and has over 3,900 passing yards on the year. He has has the same amount of touchdown passes as Goff with 32. If he has time to stand in the pocket, Brees will shred the Rams.
The Saints running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, have helped boost this team offensively. The two have combined for over 1,500 yards. They have a combined 20 touchdowns on the season and both average over 4.5 yards per rush. Needless to say, the Saints have themselves a steady balance in two running backs.
Let’s not forget about Mike Thomas. The All-Pro caught 125 passes for 1,405 yards, both career-highs. Thomas is coming off 171 yards in last week’s performance and the last time these two teams played he scored the game-winning touchdown.
Certainly, there is a lot of firepower on the Saints side.
The Saints defense has just 12 interceptions on the year and just one touchdown by the defense this season. Now that isn’t terrible, as defenses shouldn’t be relied on to score, but when compared to the Rams 18 interceptions and the three touchdowns by the Ram’s defense, it shows that the Ram’s have a more dangerous defense than New Orleans. However, the Saints have forced over 18 fumbles, which displays a weapon of their own on defense.
What Will Happen
Overall, these are two very well-balanced teams, but it is tough to choose between the young and speedy Rams or the veteran and experienced Saints. With a much more experienced team and a more balanced crop, the Saints will be the team to emerge victorious and make their first Super Bowl appearance in the last decade.